Fantasy Football: Jerick McKinnon, Matt Ryan Among Week 8 Sits, Starts

Jerick McKinnonIf you own Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy or anyone in the Buffalo Bills backfield, you’ve likely had a busy past few days scanning the waiver wire. But guess what: Your work isn’t done yet.

There were plenty of intriguing waiver wire targets on the market this week, but just because you grabbed them doesn’t mean they’re a lock for your starting roster. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown, for example, were both popular pickups, but the Bills’ matchup against the New York Jets and their stingy run defense might have you thinking twice about putting them in your lineup.

There are also tough decisions to be made elsewhere Sunday, as a number of teams find themselves in big matchups that could have serious fantasy implications.

It should be noted that one of those matchups — the Detroit Lions vs. the Atlanta Falcons — will kick off from London’s Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, so either make sure your roster is good to go Saturday night, or don’t forget to set that alarm clock.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s who you should start and avoid in what should be an exciting Week 8.

START
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill was lights-out against the Chicago Bears last Sunday and has posted 20-point fantasy efforts in three straight games. This weekend he gets the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have surrendered double-digit fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in all but two games this year. If you’re in need of a spot start, Tannehill’s a safe bet.

Ben Tate, Running Back, Cleveland Browns: Don’t be discouraged by Tate’s dud against the lowly Jaguars last weekend, as nothing seemed to go right for the Browns that day. This week, he’ll face an Oakland Raiders defense that’s given up nearly 150 yards per game on the ground. Ignore the little devil on your shoulder and start Tate with confidence.

Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings: The Matt Asiata era is long gone in Minnesota, especially after McKinnon put up 103 rushing yards against the stingiest run defense in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills. All that’s missing from McKinnon’s game are touchdowns, and his Week 8 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have allowed seven rushing scores in six games this year.

Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys: We’re getting to the point now where Williams has had too many good games to ignore. Sure, Dez Bryant still dominates in the passing game, but there’s been more than enough to go around offensively for Dallas this season. That shouldn’t change against the struggling Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Jordan Reed, Tight End, Washington Redskins: The Cowboys have done basically everything right this season — except cover the tight end. Opposing tight ends have gone off against Dallas this year, scoring a combined seven touchdowns in seven games, and the talented Reed looks primed to cash in after two promising games since returning from injury.

SIT
Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan’s offensive line is a mess right now, and it’s seriously affecting his play. Now he’ll have to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to take on a Detroit Lions team that’s allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Until Atlanta figures it out on offense, steer clear of Matty Ice.

Denard Robinson, Running Back/Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars: Robinson was another intriguing waiver wire pickup this week after rushing for 127 yards and a score last Sunday. But his big game also means the Dolphins likely will do everything they can to stop him this weekend. The Jaguars’ offense is very hard to trust in fantasy, and so is Robinson here.

Jonathan Stewart, Running Back, Carolina Panthers: Stewart was the Panthers’ clear lead back last weekend, but it only resulted in 50 rushing yards on 13 carries. The Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks this week, and while the Seahawks’ run defense hasn’t been as stout as usual recently, it’s hard to imagine Stewart putting up any sort of numbers here.

Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver, New York Jets: What to do about Percy? It’s tempting to start him here, as the Bills are vulnerable against the pass and the Jets could have big plans in store for him going forward. We don’t know that yet, though, and Harvin has been unproductive virtually all season. Hold off on him until he proves himself.

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints: Cooks came in with a lot of hype and initially lived up to it, but he’s failed to top 60 receiving yards in his last three games and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1. If Jimmy Graham plays a bigger role in the passing game, don’t count on Sunday being that day Cooks bounces back.

Have a fantasy/NFL question for Darren? Send it to him via Twitter at @darren_hartwell

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